Lost in the ‘click, click’By Conchita C. Razon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Do you sometimes lie wide awake at night wondering about things? I do. I have learned to switch gears from worry to happy thoughts. Still, once in a while, I catch myself trying to figure out what happened to the world I once knew.
Where have traditions and old mores gone? Is it true we sent them into that hazy ether we call nowhere, never to return? With the rest of the “finer things in life,” have they slowly dissipated and vanished into thin air? Or are they just waiting in the wings, waiting for us to call them back?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could apply today’s technology to recall and restore those priceless ideals? Is there an app for that? After all, we can retrieve files we have thrown in the trash. All you do is click the basura icon and drag the file to your desktop. So easy!
If you could, what would you click and drag from the trash bin of times past? Long-lost lovers and failed relationships are not included.
I would look for our lost values. If it is too late for today’s generation, how about refreshing them for the one that follows?
I look at my great grandchildren and am encouraged. Maybe there is still hope. Maybe it is their mission to pick up the pieces.
Despite more distractions and newer inventions, the day may come when they learn to recognize and respect character, honor, integrity and honesty. I have a sudden thought. Will it be too late for today’s whistleblowers?
News of recent events have people asking: “What is happening to our world?” Talk is cheap and life is cheaper. Fear has again reared its ugly head.
Society has gotten too busy. People aren’t talking anymore. Relationships are warped. Sad to say, but it is this same fabulous technology, with all its incredible advances in communication, that has made us unable or unwilling to communicate. This same thief has robbed us of joy at the sound of a voice, and comfort from the touch of a hand. All we hear is “click, click.”
In a typical home today, most, if not all its members, are equipped with a smartphone, a tablet or a pad. It is sad testimony if, at the end of the day, we realize that the only contact we have had with our children has been done in quick albeit creative abbreviations on a keypad. And we live in the same house! How sad is that?
I remember growing up in an era when mealtime at home was sacred. We looked forward to gathering around the dinner table, hands washed, hair combed, and eager to share our day’s adventures. There was real conversation. In Hawaii they call it “talking story.”
Today we compete with television. Even during meals, it is a constant presence. We sit at table with all our gadgets. God forbid we should miss a call or a message. We eat while we text, surf, post or tweet, no doubt a complicated task. But we have proudly mastered this silent, eloquent art of telling the people around us that we would rather be anywhere else but there, and with anyone else but them.
Make no mistake about it. I am grateful for Facebook. I have found old friends and defined bonds blurred by the passage of time. But just as awesome as it is to strengthen friendships via the new technologies, it is also frightening to see how easily we can cut ties, sever emotional connections and casually bow out of each other’s lives, as if it didn’t matter at all.
I wonder how many relationships have ended because of wrong punctuation, a mis-sent message, or an imagined tone of voice in a text. We have lost that precious, personal touch. When did we let it go? Why?
My friend tells a story. On Facebook one day, she saw the picture of her granddaughter wearing something “quite inappropriate.” She sent the pretty young lady a private message telling her so. No words were exchanged, no arguments or explanations.
The granddaughter simply hit the “unfriend” button, and that was that. My friend tried to laugh about it, but there was sadness in her laughter.
While I retrieve our values file from the trash, I want to find the one on “good manners and right conduct.” I will lobby strongly to put it back in school just like it was in the good old once upon a time.
What would I bring back from that file? All of it! Greeting upon entering a residence and bidding goodbye upon leaving would be among my top choices.
I would like to see young people speaking to their elders with respect and a tone of deference, regardless of station or position. I miss seeing a man opening a door for a woman, no matter what age or social standing; a young man or woman standing to let an older person have a seat.
I want to see appropriate dress corresponding to age, place and occasion; no necklines too low, no hems too high; a code of modesty and good taste that a parent teaches and children follow.
I will advocate night and day for the setting of higher standards. I remember when people in the workforce took pride in their jobs and showed a deep and unwavering commitment to excellence. Nothing was “puede na.” It is time to bring that back.
Here I am again, thinking out loud. I know I am dreaming, perhaps hallucinating. Bear with me. I am just giving voice to a deep frustration that sometimes, in the middle of the night, rises from my heart, looking for solace.
I am not against progress, and I would fight passionately for change. But let’s get real. With all these advances, have we become better people?
Think about it. Did we perhaps pay too high a price for our new toys? In our race to have the latest and the best, have we lost it all? Just asking.